Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and I wanted to take the chance to reflect on what I truly am thankful for this year. My post last year really resonated with you because I got a bit more personal and raw. I hope that this can reflect that same authenticity and shed a little more light on what 2018 has been for me.
There are so many Pinterest quotes telling you to “grow every day”. For me, growth is anything but linear. Some days, I feel like I make leaps and bounds forward, and somedays, I may even take a step back. However wacky of a path it may be, I am really thankful for the growth I have had this past year. Looking back to where my business was in November 2017, I am so proud of where I am. Month to month, things may have not seemed to change much, but the change in the whole year really is astounding. Aside from my business, I am also thankful to have grown as a human being. I’ve been exposed to a lot of harsh realities this year that have led to some difficult life lessons. However, I am grateful to have learned these now at 24 instead of down the road.
I have shifted my priorities a lot this year. I am damn thankful for the reprioritization that has occurred in 2018 (yes, that is a word). While this may mean a lot more staying in than crazy nights out, it also means refocusing my energy into people and projects that are beneficial to me. The older I get, the more I realize that quality is more important than quantity. This applies to anything in your life, and especially with work and friends. I would rather take on less brand deals but have every single one be a dream collaboration than sign on multiple deals each week and feel overworked or inauthentic to my readers. I would rather have less close friends but have every single one truly get me than have 20 “best friends” and feel myself spread too thin trying to keep up with the latest group text convo. I would rather have less clothing that I love and truly believe that my readers could get something from purchasing than get every new “it item” off my IG feed and spend all my money trying to keep up with other bloggers. I’ve put my best interests first, and I really have seen that less is more.
Let’s be transparent. 2018 has not been all sunshine and rainbows. Not in the slightest. There have been a couple slow months where I’ve signed only a handful of brand deals, and I’ve stressed about if there is a place for me in the future of this industry. I have been flat out rejected by companies who say they “want to go in a different direction” and I have driven myself crazy thinking of all the issues they could have seen with my website design or my Instagram engagement. Let’s not forget about the two-week hashtag ban on Instagram because I used a spam account blocking app too quickly… and these setbacks were just with my business, not even the ones in my personal life. I’ve been ghosted. I’ve grown apart from good friends. I’ve felt guilty for not being a good enough daughter / sister / granddaughter when I am up in Chicago and away from all of the happenings back home in Saint Louis. The only silver lining to these hardships are that I was able to get myself through them. I’ve gotten to know myself better over this past year. I know my limits of when to stop an argument from going over the line, and I know how to cheer myself up after a rough day. I alone will pull on my bootstraps and prepare myself for the day ahead. I alone can control my outlook and my future. The knowledge that I am okay on my own and that I will always be self-sustaining has been a comfort and a blessing. I think it will continue to be so as the years go on.
2018 has been full of opportunities where I just couldn’t say no. Rooming with 9 other girls for fashion week in a million-dollar home? Going to London Fashion Week by myself? And then… taking a train to Paris on my own? Working with brands I have grown up adoring? YUP. Doesn’t matter how, I WILL make it happen. And I did. I am very thankful for the experiences I was able to have this year. They all pushed me outside my comfort zone and forced me to try a new approach to living. I feel that my mind was opened to other ways of doing things and seeing the world this year because of these experiences.
For every good or bad thing that happens, there is always someone to congratulate me or get me back on my feet. I am extremely thankful for the support system that I have in my life. Although I do keep a lot to myself, I know that if I need to vent about work, to ramble on about the woman in front of me at the store, or just to laugh with, I have many people I can call. My family has always been extremely supportive of my business and I am grateful for the opportunities they have helped to provide me. As for my friends, most of them wear two hats in my life; I feel as if I have virtually no distinction between “coworkers” and “friends” because most of the bloggers I have met do end up becoming dear friends. They’re there for the Bachelor texting storm but also the ones complaining about the Instagram algorithm, and our conversations always end up being real life one second and blogging the next. It’s such a unique relationship but also creates such a close connection. My friends from college may be a bit more annoyed with me now as I take pictures of our brunch food and delay them eating by a minute or two, but they are great at helping to promote my business and more importantly, being good friends. I am also extremely grateful for every single one of YOU! Every time you like a photo on Instagram, read a blog post, or shop through my LIKEtoKNOW.it you are helping to support my business. I treasure every heartfelt comment you leave and every DM you send, agreeing with me that the latest Bachelor is a fboy or more recently, your sweet words following my being drugged at a bar. You truly are MY people. I would be nowhere near where I am today as a person or in this business without your unwavering support. I appreciate every single one of you. One of my goals for next year is to try to e-meet more of you, so if you have never reached out, please leave a comment on an IG pic or shoot me an email. You have hearts of gold and are some of the greatest people. I look forward to connecting with even more of you!
Happy Thanksgiving, friends. Enjoy your turkey and pumpkin pie, and check back sometime on Turkey Day for the ultimate Black Friday sales guide. If I were you, I’d click the link now and bookmark it on my phone so I can access it whenever. I will be continuing to add more retailers’ deals as soon as I am legally allowed to tell you about them – and let’s just say, it’s gonna be BOMB!